There were representatives from 15 charities and good causes present at Barrow in Furness Masonic Hall to receive a total of £4,500 raised at the group boxing evening. During the 29 years of its existence the Furness and South Lakeland boxing and dining evening has raised over £170,000 with a very significant portion of that money being directed to local charities.
What makes the presentation evening particularly poignant is that on being presented with a cheque the recipient is given the opportunity, if they wish, to say a few words about the charity. Obviously this provides a chance to explain what the charity does and what the money will be used for but it also highlights how some of the organisations have come into being. Several of them have been founded by people who have suffered incidents in life for which there was no support and rather than just accept the situation they have done something about it so they could help others in a similar situation.
Listening to their accounts proved extremely illuminating and rather humbling.
Valerie Isherwood founded the Tigerlily Trust following the stillbirth of her daughter Lily when she discovered there was very little assistance to help her cope with the loss. The trust, amongst other things, provides remembrance boxes and miscarriage care packages for parents who lose their babies at any stage in pregnancy or shortly after birth. On accepting the cheque, presented by Allan Wilson, Valerie said: “I feel privileged to have been able to turn my loss into an opportunity to help others in a similar situation.”
Assistant Provincial Grand Master David Grainger was on hand to witness proceedings along with group chairman Alan Jones, Provincial charity steward Glynn Wrennall, regional charity steward Phil Preston and group charity steward Richard Wilcock.
David paid tribute to boxing committee chairman Gary Rogerson and his team for the work they had put in to raise the money and added: “It is superb to be here and learn exactly what the funds will be used for.
There are many individuals and organisations providing a service which enrich the lives of many in our community. I am pleased that we are able to make a small contribution to their work.”
The variety of causes who benefited from the efforts of the boxing committee were varied and spread throughout the area.
Joe Wardman and Steve Prior were presented with a cheque by Simon Blundell. It is to be used to maintain and increase the urban oasis created in the midst of an area of terraced housing by the Marsh Street Arches and Garden Company. They have transformed former derelict land into a garden and green space for the residents and neighbourhood schools.
The church of St Peter in Ireleth celebrates its 150th anniversary this year. Peter Storey presented the Rev Alan Mitchell and church warden Beverley Louw with a cheque to help finance the improvement of disabled access to the church.
Boxing committee secretary Keiron Mullan presented a cheque to Paul Rose on behalf of the Owl Sanctuary. Paul had brought along some of his owls which proved quite an attraction.
Fortunately the other animal charity Furness Riding for the Disabled did not bring any of their horses into the venue. Judith Stitt from the association explained how the programme not only gave pleasure to youngsters who had severe problems but also served to greatly increase their confidence. It provides sessions for 36 riders each week.
One person who is certainly doing their bit for the community is Jane Strawbridge who received two cheques from Allan Wilson. The first was for South Lakeland MIND for whom she is a trustee. The Kendal based organisation provides support for people with mental or emotional problems in the South Lakes area. The second cheque received by Jane was on behalf of Cerebral Palsy. She is the chair of the Grange over Sands branch of that organisation. The money will go towards purchasing fibre optic light strands which will provide a stimulus for a 6 year old boy who suffers from a severe form of cerebral palsy.
The other good causes that received cheques on the night were:
Furness Paediatric Support Group – to help and support the families of children with type 1 diabetes.
Ostley House Home for the Blind in Barrow in Furness – for the residents’ amenities fund.
SAFA Cumbria – to help bring those at risk of self-harm “out of a dark place”
Ulverston Victoria School – funding for a historical enactment actor to help bring history alive for those of all abilities and hopefully “ignite the spark in some individuals.”
Parkinson’s Disease Furness – to help finance the therapy clinic which had been closed due to a funding shortfall.
Autus Cumbria – will help fund summer activities for young people in the autism spectrum and hopefully give their parents a break.
Kendal Boxing Club – who organise the actual bouts on the dinner with boxing evening and without whom the event could not go ahead.
BAE Paramedics – a voluntary group who provide medical help at the boxing as well as many other local events.
The total donated was £4,500 with a further £1,500 being donated to the group and Provincial charity accounts for later disbursement.
Masonic halls play a vital part in enabling Freemasons to raise funds for charity and this was acknowledged with each hall receiving a sum towards their upkeep.
Following the hand-over of the cheques from the boxing evening a further presentation took place. Group chairman Alan Jones paid tribute to his predecessor Rowley Saunders who since 1997 has organised a charity concert which raises funds for a different good cause each year. This year the monies raised are being directed at the MacMillan Urology Nurses. They were supplemented by a donation from Terry and Janet Ridal who had hosted this year’s Thurston Lodge Ladies Night. Terry has suffered prostate cancer and is very grateful for the support he received from the MacMillan Nurses.
Rather than just give a donation which may have been swallowed up in central funds it was decided to purchase equipment for the nurses to use. On this occasion Lorraine Rigg and Richard Turner were presented with iPads to help them in their work. Richard explained: “The iPads will enable us to take information to patients wherever they are, be it in the ward, during a clinic or at home. They are a very useful tool which allow us to have access to records and also be able to show diagrams to illustrate procedures. They will improve our working practices and benefit the patients. We are very grateful that you have made this possible.”
It proved a very successful night with those attending not only feeling proud to be part of an organisation which raises funds for such good causes but also a feeling of reassurance that there are still many people in our society who are prepared to go to great lengths to help improve the lot of others.